Review: Once by Anna Carey

Anna Carey
Series: Eve, #2
Release Date: July 3rd, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Number of Pages: 368
Source: Edelweiss
Rating: 4 of 5 stars

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When you're being hunted, who can you trust?

For the first time since she escaped from her school many months ago, Eve can sleep soundly. She's living in Califia, a haven for women, protected from the terrifying fate that awaits orphaned girls in The New America.

But her safety came at a price: She was forced to abandon Caleb, the boy she loves, wounded and alone at the city gates. When Eve gets word that Caleb is in trouble, she sets out into the wild again to rescue him, only to be captured and brought to the City of Sand, the capital of The New America.

Trapped inside the City walls, Eve uncovers a shocking secret about her past--and is forced to confront the harsh reality of her future. When she discovers Caleb is alive, Eve attempts to flee her prison so they can be together--but the consequences could be deadly. She must make a desperate choice to save the ones she loves . . . or risk losing Caleb forever.

In this breathless sequel to "Eve," Anna Carey returns to her tale of romance, adventure, and sacrifice in a world that is both wonderfully strange and chillingly familiar.
I’ll admit, I went into Once with some slight trepidation. I read Eve a few weeks ago and absolutely loved it, and was instantly captivated by the scarily familiar world it took place in, the characters and their struggles and the great emotional impact it had on me. With all of that praise for Eve, and more, I looked forward to Once immensely, having high hopes for it, but was also a bit worried, wondering if it could live up to its predecessor.

And now, the big question: did it live up to Eve? The answer to that is mostly yes, but also a little bit of no (I know, let me explain). The world in Once is just as captivating and richly detailed as the world in Eve, maybe even more so, and the plot when it decides to actually show up is one that is superior in both concept and execution than Eve’s.

But you see what I wrote in strikethroughs right there? Yes, while the plot may be superior to Eve’s, and well executed, it shows up sporadically, as if taking a break every now and then. It pops into the book in short little bursts, then steps aside to make room for character development (a thing I absolutely love about this series, though – character development, relationship development, all types of development, and Carey somehow manages to make that thoroughly interesting and never boring), then everything just blows up in your face in the last ten percent or so.

But the thing is, while I would like to have had the plot show up less sporadically and remain more constant, that’s really the only complaint I have concerning Once. While I definitely would have liked for this installment to have had as much as an emotional impact on me as Eve did, those were pretty large shoes to fill and I didn’t really expect for those shoes to be filled in the first place. Aside from that, though, the character growth and relationship building throughout the novel is almost mesmerizing, and I only wish I had Carey’s skill in that department. As well as that, Carey manages to give us all as readers a fresh new cast of characters (thanks to a pretty huge twist in the beginning which makes way for an awesome, awesome plot) while making us care for each of them as we had for the cast of characters in Eve.

Towards the end, Once is chock full of twists, turns and revelation that I was practically hyperventilating. Ending with a final, major twist and an equally as major cliffhanger, Rise has jumped into highly anticipated reads of 2013 list (and probably in my top five, as well), and I absolutely can’t wait to read it. And with what Rise is going to be about, I think it’s safe to say that the Eve trilogy may just end up being one of my favorite trilogies in young adult so far.


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